Monthly Archives: October 2014

Happy Halloween!

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I really have to hand it to my husband. When the man invites me to a romantic night out, it IS romantic!  Wow!  What a lovely time we had last night!  Everything was just beautiful.  The food, the guests, the music. Such interesting conversation…so much fun, but I was also concerned about a sick friend and found it hard to enjoy myself at times.

I ended up selecting a vintage theater mask because it was smaller than the big feathered thing I was going to wear.  Kind of funky, but it went well with my dress.  There were some of the most elegant costumes I’d ever laid eyes on!  People really went all out for the occasion.

I just wish I could dance as well as John!  He is amazing on the dance floor.  Always has been.  He attributes this to the fact that his mother made him take ballroom dancing when he was a kid.  I think he just has a natural flair for it.  He swept me off my feet.

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The night could not have been lovelier, and it was wonderful to spend time together, albeit only a brief encounter.  I ended up staying the night, and got back a short while ago. Frankly, I’m just too tired to write much except to say that we had a lot of fun, and it was great to be away from computers for 24 hours, but now, I am faced with that reality again…one more paper to write, and a nonparametric data analysis to conduct before tonight when I shall take wee Ingrid trick or treating and then make appearances at two parties.

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I could go to bed right now and sleep through until tomorrow, but isn’t that the story of my life?  Always overdoing it.  sigh….One more week of this term and then I can actually get caught up on my rest a little bit.  Then…back to work again.

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Saying goodbye is always hard.

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Have a happy and safe Halloween, my friends!

Today Applesauce – Tomorrow the Bay

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Today Applesauce – Tomorrow the Bay

As I sit here typing this, I cannot believe I did everything that I did today…but somehow, I got it all done.  I had to cram two days worth of work into one day, because tomorrow, I’ll be flying to San Francisco to join my husband, some of his professional colleagues and some music and theatre friends for a charter dinner cruise in the San Francisco Bay.   It is going to be catered by a really good restaurant.  This will  be a formal Halloween dance with a band that I absolutely adore, and I can hardly wait. Rumor has it that a couple of celebrities are going to be on board, too…but I am sworn to secrecy.  🙂

Meanwhile, today, I made cinnamon applesauce to take to John from three different kinds of apples.  I used the over abundance of organic apples that have been delivered to me this week and i still have some left over.  I also made a plethora of small vegetable pies that I shall take for him to freeze.  He loves my cooking and says he misses it…so this is my gift to him for the treat he is giving me with what sounds like it will be a lovely party.

veggie pies

Unfortunately, I will have to fly right back out on the last flight home…or the first flight the next morning….because I have a party to attend here in my Portland neighborhood, and another one down at the studio…..and of course, there’s Ingrid and our traditional Halloween crusade that will actually only take a few minutes, as we greet our neighbors and do a little early trick-or-treating before she heads off to be with friends.

I couldn’t get a seat on the last flight home, but I am on standby for one leaving from Oakland.  Wish me luck! I do have an early, early reservation for the next morning from SF, which I hope I will not have to take.  I really do need to get right back or I won’t get everything done.

I have missed my sweet husband and really look forward to seeing him.  He looks handsome in a tux, too, so I look forward to that as well.  I am wearing a pretty Dolce and Gabbana gown and a big, feathery mask that one of the theater people is providing.  I chose this gown, which is really quite full with the undergarment on, because I expect it to be rather nippy on the boat.  The color is much nicer than the photo shows.  It has gold thread in it so that it really shimmers in the light.  Very pretty dress in person.  I am going to wear my hair up.  We’ll see how all that goes…  The main thing is that I get to be with John for a beautiful evening.

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So…..

Tonight I have to finish a paper that I started today, do my research discussion paper and begin two other papers that I will have to complete before Sunday night.   If you’re starting to celebrate Halloween…have fun!  I know I’m going to!  Can she do it????

Of course, she can!

The Beebs is Haute!

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Last night, I mentioned to my friend that I walk Beatrix at least three times a day, rain or shine.  He informed me that in a rainy climate like ours here in Portland, that might not be such a great idea, because chihuahuas’ ears are especially sensitive to the rain.  Ya learn something new every day!

Well, I fixed that!

I created a little haute hoodie for her out of an old sock….and I must say, she DOES look smashing!  Don’t you agree?  This will look riveting with the sweater arm coat that I made for her! Very chic! 🙂

beebs haute

UPDATE:
After I snapped the above-photo, I made some adjustments to the garment and made is less snug around her neck.  Then, we went out into the rain to try it out.  She HATED it…tugging and pulling and shaking her head….so I just took it off of her.  When we got back, I phoned Beatrix’s vet and asked her about the whole chihuahua wet ears thing.  “Ridiculous,” she said, “Chihuahuas thrive in wet weather. They also love to swim.”  Oh, well….c’est la vie.  🙂

Yoga by the Dawn’s Surly Light

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Yoga by the Dawn’s Surly Light

As I type this, I have begun my first day of the oil pulling that I wrote about last night.  I am using sesame oil rather than coconut oil, as I am out of the latter….and I am incorrectly doing it after breakfast, because I didn’t realize I would be having breakfast with my yoga group until I was already there.  Tomorrow, I will do it first thing before eating, but didn’t want to procrastinate about starting it.

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I feel energized this morning…happy and good.  A new yoga studio opened about a block away from me to replace the one that closed there about a year ago.  I signed up for a one-time “a la carte” class because I have had so much work to do lately that I feel my muscles will soon begin to atrophy if I don’t get them stretched out properly, so I decided to try a Yin Yoga class.  I wanted to try it out before I committed to regular classes.

This type of yoga is a great way to start off a cool, rainy morning.  I walked there in the dark, and although I was soaked through to the bone by the time I arrived, I enjoyed a relaxed hour of floor postures that were held from three to five minutes at a time. I found that assuming the postures was easy enough.  I wasn’t in as bad a shape as I’d feared. However, at times, it could be quite challenging due to the length of time postures were held.

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Afterward, I felt quite energetic and happy.  My body felt good.  Hung out and socialized a little bit over an East Indian breakfast of fresh fruit, raw almonds, a type of rice porridge and some marinaded coconut-curry tempeh.  Had a nice chat with the instructor who is, herself, East Indian, and enjoyed meeting a few new folks I’d not yet met from the hood.  Breakfast is not the norm there.  This was some kind of pre-dawn grand opening occasion.

Gee, it’s only 7:10 a.m. as I write this, and I feel like I’ve already put in a full day.   Took Beatrix for a walk when I got back, but frankly, it was a little scary doing so in the dark.  Next time, I’ll walk her on well-lit Division street if I walk her before daylight.  She enjoyed it more than I did.  Still raining out.

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(Ok….this oil pulling is getting annoying already.  I am feeling impatient with it, but I will keep going for the full 20 minutes…)

Today, I have to write two articles for a client and work on two papers for my Leadership class.  When I get those in shape, I have to prepare 4 discussion questions for both classes, which are papers, in and of themselves.  Then, I will attempt to struggle with my statistics homework.  These last few weeks, I’ve not finished my stat problem sets until the last minute as I put them off as long as I can.  They are so hard!!  I feel I have learned the SPSS software and how to manipulate it.  It is the data analysis and interpretation written in APA format that slays me.  Ah, well.  I just have to finish up this week and next week and then I can kiss statistics goodbye permanently, I hope.  The new term begins mid-November, and I don’t think my testing and assessment class will have any stat.  If it does, I will be sorely disappointed!

Ah, but before I begin any of that, I have to clean out the refrigerator to get ready for this morning’s organic veg delivery.  The delivery guy is a Cherokee with shiny black hair down to his waist.  One of these days, when I have time, I want to photograph him.  Very interesting looking person.  Good photography subject.

Anyway…That’s all the news there is to tell this morning.  Nose to the grindstone.  Have a good one!

1yogapastels

 

Ever Hear of Oil Pulling?

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Ever Hear of Oil Pulling?

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With all of the fancy new oral care products  that are readily available on today’s market, one may be surprised to learn that a lot of folks are turning to an ancient Ayurvedic oil ritual that can end up giving you  brighter teeth and also  help heal certain gum  problems.

Oil pulling used to be considered an “old wives’ tale”, but now, hard science supports the fact that it can also help lead to better overall oral health.   Oil pulling  occurs when one swishes vegetable oil around in the mouth for approximately 20 minutes each morning before breakfast.  Basically, that’s all there is to it.

I am updating this blog post with a new addition, because I have found two essential oils that make all the difference in the world when I do oil pullling.  Frankincense and Myrrh are some of the most miraculously healing oils in the world.  I had a sore place on one of my gums, and, upon the recommendation of my naturopath, added two drops each of Frankincense and Myrrh to my oil pulling routing.  OMG!   My gums were healed within the hour.

I could not believe how spectacular the results were!  I recommend DoTerra essential oils because they are so highly concentrated and pure.  They are expensive initially….but not in the longrun, because they do so much good and also because you only use such tiny amounts that they bottles last for ages.  You can pick them up here: —-> click —->   Ajan Life – Doterra Essential Oils.

The practice of oil pulling helps fight gingivitis, plaque and those nasty germs that cause bad breath.  It  works exceptionally well, in fact,  and makes the teeth nice and white without  having to use the harsh chemicals found in a lot of oral care products.    You can use whatever vegetable oil you prefer, but I like coconut oil for its antibacterial properties.    This type of oil also contains  an antimicrobial agent called, “lauric acid” that helps prevent tooth decay.    Ayurvedic practitioners use different oils for different body types, so if you know a practitioner, consult with him or her.  Otherwise, use whatever oil you wish.  Sometimes, I use sesame oil, which I also like a lot.

How to do oil pulling:

1. Put one or two tablespoons of coconut oil into a small dish, or as much directly into the mouth and skip step #2, because it only takes a few seconds for the solid oil to melt.

2.  If you prefer, place the dish containing the oil into a larger one filled with some hot water to quickly liquefy the coconut oil.

3.  When the oil is liquified, place it into your mouth…but do not swallow it!  Swish it around in your mouth for around 20 minutes.  I do it while I’m checking my morning email and going over the day’s tasks, because 20 minutes can seem like a VERY long time unless you otherwise occupy your mind.

4.  Dispose of the  in a garbage bin.  Do NOT spit into sink unless you want to clog your pipes.

5.  Rinse out your mouth with warm water.

6.  Brush your teeth.

7. Brush them again.

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Oil pulling should be considered a supplemental therapy that does not replace one’s regular, prescribed  oral care.  And by the way….there are many, many websites that extoll the virtues of oil pulling.  Information is free.  Get it here…or get it somewhere else.

Oil pulling.  Who woulda thunk it?!

What you eat and drink (and don’t eat and drink) can also whiten the teeth.  Read my blog about this topic here, and learn a thing or two: IN ADDITION TO OIL PULLING.

 

MAKE YOUR OWN COSMETICS ….Click HERE.

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Clenched Souls

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We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

It Smells GOOD in Here!

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It Smells GOOD in Here!

When someone walks into our  house, it is not uncommon for them to say, “It smells GOOD in here!”  because…well, it does!  I keep the place very clean.  Plus, I have long been a fan of the power of natural scents, and have made sure that my house always smells of fresh flowers or all-natural incense or goodies baking in the oven.  I strongly dislike overpowering, fake, perfume-y scents…but truly do love a soft, gentle aroma.  Lavender is among my favorites.

Since I have been under so much pressure with school this term, I have used a lot of lavender, thanks to my friend, Genie, who sent me a number of essential oil diffusers to try out. The one I like best looks like this one (see below).  See that band of blue light at the top of it?  Users actually have the option to change that to green or pink…or a number of other colors.  It looks so nice in my pretty bedroom.

diffuser

 

Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood. I find all of these things to be true.  I find that using lavender oil in my diffuser results in a much- improved sleep quality, a more stable mood in the face of distractions, better concentration, and reduced anxiety.  I have been using NOW brand essential oils that I pick up for a reasonable price at New Seasons, my neighborhood natural foods grocer and am very happy with these.

lavender now

I have also been testing the energizing qualities of orange oil.  In fact, sometimes, I add a few drops of orange oil to the lavender.  The combination is heavenly!  The scent of oranges is said to help reduce the symptoms of depression, and I also find that it has a nice energetic quality, when used alone.  However, when used in combination with the lavender, I go into very deep, dream-filled sleep.  I truly love it.

oranges

I have other essential oils on hand, but these two are my favorites.   One thing, though.  I do not let my puppy into the same room as the diffuser when it is going.  Chihuahuas are particularly sensitive to a lot of things, and I don’t want to irritate her skin or eyes.  So far, however, she does really well, once I turn it off, even though the scent does linger.  I conducted some research that says it is perfectly fine to use these two scents around pets.  However, I don’t want to take any chances with her, especially since she is only a year old.

My family and friends all love how my house smells.  It is cozy, neat, relaxing, and a good place to hang out.  I think the essential oils add another layer to all that to make it especially pleasant.

Little Nip….Little Tuck…..Little Patti

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Castles Made of Sand/ Little Wing

We used to go hear Tuck and Patti play at Yoshi’s in Oakland.  I have always admired how Tuck could handle that ’49 Gibson L-5!   Loved them then.  Love them now.

There Are None so Blind…..

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There Are None so Blind…..

“There Are None So Blind as Those Who Will Not See….”

This is one of my favorite proverbs. It has been traced back to 1546 (John Heywood), and is pretty close to the Biblical verse Jeremiah 5:21: ‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not’. It reflects a running theme in my life right now…personally…politically…familial-y….that is, the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.  You know the ones.  They attempt to snuff out the evidence and live in self-delusion rather than face what is really going on.  Sad, that…

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The painting that you see above is called, “Van Gogh’s Eye.”  I can’t even remember the year that I painted it.  It was created when I lived in the SF Bay Area, and I painted it to give to my friend, Paul, who recently died….so he has been on my mind of late.

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The concept behind the painting is an interesting one.  I painted a series of pieces that were based on small sections of paintings by famous artists.  I did this so I could, perhaps, experience some of what the original artists had experienced when they did their paintings.

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  Undertaking of this exercise caused me to examine their work more closely, and to really think about why they made the artistic choices that they had made.  For this piece,   I selected Van Gogh’s  ‘Portrait of the Artist’ that he painted in 1889.   I focused on only a tiny portion of it, one of his eyes.  The section on the original painting is probably less than 3″ wide.  My painting was considerably larger than that, which was the whole point. It was to enlarge the section so I could look more deeply into the work and reveal its secrets.   The lessons I learned by doing this exercise were priceless,and can be summed up in one sentence:  “There is always more than meets the eye.”

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In attempting to duplicate Van Gogh’s brush strokes, I came to realize, first hand,  how complex his technique was.  His brush dispersed the paint over the canvas in virtually every possible direction…up, down, left, right, diagonally….but the thing that amazed me even more, was the fact that I used a total of 37 (!!!) individual colors to duplicate a similar effect.  That’s right.  In the original painting, that tiny 3″ section contains at least 37 individual colors!

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Looking closer.  Examining things very carefully under a magnifying glass…..What better way to come to a deeper understanding of the fact that there is ALWAYS more than meets the eye…both literally and figuratively!  This can be always be applied to one’s art….but it works best when applied to one’s actual life.  🙂

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In other news….congratulations to the happy couple joining their lives in Texas on this day. Wish I could be there for the wedding.  I  know the music will be great.

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moonlygrace

 Bride of Moonly Grace

by Stacy Alexander

 

Depression

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No, I’m not manic depressive….just feeling a little down in the dumps as the crushing weight of these last few weeks of the term rob me of any semblance of rest.  I am sleep deprived, overworked, tired…exhausted, really, and my head is asunder with the multiple tasks that lie before me.  I know the signs of depression, and I know what triggers them, so I also know what to do.

Be Gentle

I know, when I feel this coming on, that I must be gentle with myself.  This involves avoiding stressful situations, television programs, films, books, people and places.  I don’t really drive downtown, for instance, when I feel this coming on.

Exercise

I have doubled my exercise routine.  I am walking my puppy more and more and more, drinking in the beauty of this city, even when the weather has become wet and gray.  It is still beautiful here, and I still stop to smell the ever-blooming roses.

Love

When I’m feeling down, I turn to those who I know love me….my daughter, my husband, my best friend, my parents.  I am a strong woman, but I let them hold me up with their kindness and I lean on them a little bit when I feel depressed.  Of course, I’m there for them, too, when they need it, so it all evens out in the end.  I think about the people that I love…Maya and Ingrid and Harrison, Katherine and John and Sarah…Nate and William and my other friends…my little puppy, Beatrix……and somehow, this makes me feel better.

Vitamin D.

I up my dosage of Vitamin D and take it with Vitamin C.  My doctor recommended I do this and it really works!

Creation

I create something….anything…I bake a cake, create a piece of art…take a photograph…MAKE something creative and constructive.

 

Staying on Task

There is nothing that can cheer me up more than accomplishing a task.  So…I just try to keep my nose to the grindstone and do what needs to be done, chipping away at this work a little bit at a time. When I get to the end of that last paragraph….that last equation….that last problem, I might be wiped out….but magically, I feel much better.

so……..back to work for me!

Ain’t It The Truth?!

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Scorpio (Oct 23 23 – Nov 21)
October 21, 2014
“Your weariness could catch up with you today…..”
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This has been one of the busiest, most exhausting periods of time in my entire life!  I have taken to turning my phone off for days at a time, burying my head in my books and doing little else except walking my puppy, cleaning my house and cooking food.  Last night, my husband asked me if I would go see a movie that he is considering centering a play around.  I had to laugh.  The mountain of school work that grows higher by the minute will not topple for another two weeks after this one.  Right now, it seems endless.  I just have to keep chipping away at it…..two papers this week, more statistics, data analysis, discussion questions….sigh….Indeed, my weariness just MIGHT catch up with me today!
Going back to bed for an hour….

Thank you…to my beautiful friend.

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A special friend sent me this video this morning.  You can see his reflection in my glasses.

Rene Best musician                                       Rene Best guitarist
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Rene Best musician

Doctors Without Borders Auction Preview!

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https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=208357702  <——-click here!

Here is your chance to preview all 141 STUNNING pieces of mosaic art created by artists from all over the world in the Doctor’s Without Border’s Charity Auction that will be coming up in November.  There are SO many beautiful choices!  Proceeds go toward a most excellent cause, so make your selections and get ready to place your bids!  dwb mosaic 2014Four René

by Stacy Alexander

© Stacy Alexander – 2014 – All Rights Reserved

Jon Gomm….now THIS is a GUITARIST!! (WOW!)

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I have an old friend in Houston that plays in this style.  This is Jon Gomm, a REAL guitarist.   The first time I ever saw anyone play in a style close to this, it was when Kaki King played at the TED talks.  Here are videos of both of them, and both are well worth a look-see.  I adore this kind of playing.  It is innovative, and not just the same ‘ol..same ‘ol, overworked, overused crap that 50 million other guitarists are playing.

I love a musician that thinks outside the box and carves new paths into the music world.  These two do that.  Jack White is another. Chris Whitley was another.

I’m really digging this new wave of talent.    It is fresh, interesting, intelligent sounding.  Pure.

To Shine Like a Bright Star

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Scorpio (Oct 23 23 – Nov 21)
October 18, 2014
You have all the right stuff to shine like a bright star today. The unflappable Leo Moon is highlighting your 10th House of Status, but you might not be ready to assume your new responsibilities. Nevertheless, you feel exceedingly hopeful about your future, but it still could take time before you are able to realize your dreams. Your smartest strategy now is to talk less and do more.
Positive action lights the way for you and those who follow.    🙂
double scorpio
Double Scorpio
© Stacy Alexander – 2014

‘Tie your heart at night to mine, love,’

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rowlett lake

(Lake Ray Hubbard – Photograph © Stacy Alexander 2014)

LXXIX From: ‘Cien sonetos de amor’

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,

and both will defeat the darkness

like twin drums beating in the forest

against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream

that cuts the thread of earthly orbs

with the punctuality of a headlong train

that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,

to the grip on life that beats in your breast,

with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply

to the sky’s questioning stars

with one key, one door closed to shadow.


Spruce Up Your Pumpkins, Bro!

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This is a cool way to create some outdoor decor for the fall season.  These are easy-to-make decoupage pumpkins that are great to set out on the porch or to even embellish Thanksgiving indoor decorations and tablescapes.

Supplies:
-Pumpkins in a variety of shapes and sizes
-Tape, such as masking tape
-White Acrylic Paint. (Spray paint works well.)
-Assorted Foliage
-White Glue
-Disposable Paint Brush

 

How to :
-Cover the pumpkin’s stem with tape. Press it tightly around the base to seal it well.
-Paint pumpkin and allow to dry.
-Paint white glue or Mod-Podge on the leaves. Press onto pumpkin. Allow to dry slightly and then press down again gently along the sides.
-Go over with Mod Podge or white glue again to seal in place. Repeat for 2 or 3  coats, but be sure to allow it to dry in between coats.